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How To Remove Rust with Cleaning Vinegar

19 Jun 2014

We all hate a rusty fuel tank. However, this is a very common issue when it comes to older motorcycles (which are the basis of many Cafe Racer).

If you ignore it, you can end up with a clogged carburettor (or more), which will require extra cleaning. Moreover, all these small particles are not good for your engine either!

If you think you have to invest in some very expensive products, you are wrong! We offer you a cheap solution with products you can find in your local grocery store. Let's take an 11 litres (2.9 gallons) tank. 

Cleaning Vinegar Fuel Tank 34

Vinegar is an acid and aluminium does not like that. We know aluminium doesn't rust, however, do not try to use this How-To for cleaning your aluminium tank!

1 litre = 0.264 Gallon

Step 1

What you need:
- 8 litres of cleaning vinegar  (for an 11-litre tank). The brand doesn't matter.
- 3 litres of clean water
- Fuel hose + 6 or 8 mm bolts (to close the hose)
- A rusty fuel tank

Cleaning Vinegar Fuel Tank

Step 2

Most fuel tanks drip from their exits, like the gasoline overflow or the place where your fuel hose went. Seal them with the fuel hose + bolts you've just bought.

Pour 8 litres of cleaning vinegar into the tank and add the 3 litres of the water right up to the maximum capacity of the tank (leave no room).

Cleaning Vinegar Fuel Tank

Close the tank and make sure it is not dripping fluid.

Note when you started this process and shake the tank once in a while.


Step 3

After approximately 4 weeks, it is time to empty your tank. (Some do this after a few days and some after a few weeks... There is no standard time.)

Rinse your tank with clean water afterwards. Do this for about 3 - 10 times (make sure it is a clean as possible). We use hot water for the last time, to make sure the tank will dry up a bit quicker.
You could also take your tank into the house and let it sit on the heater (not too hot, as it could damage the paint).

Cleaning Vinegar Fuel Tank

If you are doing it right, something like this should come out of your tank!!

Cleaning Vinegar Fuel Tank

This is the final result. All this rust and grime was in your tank!

Step 4

Afterwards, you can cure your tank with a sealer or just fill it up with gasoline or oil as soon as you can. You would not give the rust another chance, right?

Step 5

Be proud of what you have accomplished!

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